In this article we’re taking a look at some good free FTP tools for both Mac and Windows and taking a quick look at how to get started with using them.
First let’s explore what FTP is and how it’s used. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and it represents a standard network transfer protocol used to send files between a computer and a server in basic terms. So let’s say you have a hosting server that contains all of the files for your website and then a local version of your website which is only on your computer and is used for development purposes. To easily upload the files from your computer to the live server or vice versa you can use an FTP program.
You may also see SFTP used as a term which stands for Secure (SSH) File Transfer Protocol. This is basically the same as FTP but the data stream is provided over a secure / reliable data stream ensuring better encryption.
You will also see FTPS which stands for File Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s very similar to SFTP in that it allows for greater security of file transfers however they use different methods to achieve this. We won’t go into a great amount of detail on the differences between the two however SFTP effectively uses one port number for all communications making it easy to secure whereas FTPS uses multiple port numbers.
In most cases your server provider / hosting infrastructure will determine which security protocol you use as it’s dependent on what they use within the server environment.
The FTP Tools:
First up is FileZilla. This open source free FTP client works on most operating systems and is one of the most reliable and robust solutions for computer to server file transfers and vice versa.
The support base out there is exceptional both within the FileZilla environment on their website and through the wider community of many many users of the software.
The user interface is clean and simple to use and makes uploading and downloading files quick and easy.
Next is Cyberduck this software is also available for Windows and Mac, it’s important to note the minimum version requirements in this case for each operating system.
Much like FileZilla Cyberduck is free, however donations are encouraged to support the development of the tool.
With strong encryption abilities and exceptional multi lingual support Cyberduck is another amongst the most commonly used platforms and is a great tool!
Another great Open Source tool is WINSCP. This free client is only available for Windows. It provides SFTP and FTPS support as well as offering manual and automatic file transfer abilities.
The user interface is simple and easy to understand and the integrated text editor is a really nice additional feature.
Here are 3 very good free FTP tools that all provide a high level experience when it comes to managing your files across multiple servers. The additional features for each is what will predominantly be the decider as well as how intuitive you find the interface of each. We hope you found this helpful, if you did we’d really appreciate a comment or a share thanks!